In 1933, Samuel Blanc, of West Des Moines, Iowa, created a funny-looking sewer cleaning machine from a 1/6 HP Maytag washing machine motor, roller skate wheels and a spool of 3/8″ cable. The device used special rotating blades or “knives” to cut tree roots out of underground sewer lines. No digging was required. A year later, Sam’s wife Lettie christened the prototype the “Roto-Rooter.” The Roto-Rooter machine was such a breakthrough idea that it spawned an entirely new sewer and drain cleaning industry.
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